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Your outer beauty and radiance are a direct reflection of your inner health. The foods you eat unequivocally influence your personal fountain of youth down to a cellular level. One essential quality to include in your quest to look and feel your best is food high in powerful antioxidants. Anti-aging products can only take you skin deep, you must begin your journey from food within. Here are 10 anti-aging foods to include in your diet.
1. Coconut Oil
There are few substances on the planet that stand up to coconut oil. This versatile superfood has beneficial uses that span skin care, hair health, and anti-inflammatory properties—benefitting you inside and out. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it a wonderful addition to your menu (and to your bathroom cabinet) to fight signs of aging.
Notably, research shows that eating coconut oil regularly can support and heal your digestion as it positively influences the delicate balance of good and bad flora, making the plethora of antioxidant-rich foods you eat easier to absorb.
How to Enjoy:
Coconut oil is tasty when used in cooking and stable to light and low heat. Try using coconut oil when you sauté, stir-fry, or bake in place of other oils.
Put a dollop of coconut oil in your morning smoothie to add a smooth texture and flavor of your smoothie. Amongst all of the anti-aging foods for skin, coconut oil is one of the few that you can use both internally and topically.
Coconut oil has many anti-aging benefits when used topically. Apply coconut oil to your skin for moisture.
You might know of turmeric as the yellow spice in your curry, but there is so much more to this potent antioxidant rich, anti-aging food. Turmeric is known for having an astounding ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value––a popular scale that measures the antioxidant value of foods.
Turmeric has been used historically in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory healing benefits—a study suggests that turmeric may decrease arthritis symptoms, although further research is needed. In addition, turmeric may promote anti-ulcer activity, supporting the digestive system, and can help fight cancer. These anti-aging benefits keep you feeling young, spry, and full of vitality.
How to Enjoy:
Adding turmeric to your diet is easy, inexpensive, and highly effective. Use turmeric powder in your favorite curry recipe, add fresh turmeric to soups and stews, or try a teaspoon of ground turmeric with a teaspoon of raw honey in a cup of warm water for a medicinal turmeric tea.
Native to South America, avocado is grown in almost every tropical climate around the world. This super-fruit is chock full of healthy fats (mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated), vitamin E, and chlorophyll––facilitating its heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, blood-sugar stabilizing, and skin-rejuvenating properties. Avocado is high in antioxidants you want to feature in your diet. Avocados are versatile and contain both internal and external anti-aging benefits.
How to Enjoy:
Try making a simple avocado toast topped with your favorite goodies. Or add avocado slices to your cooling summer salads, blend with raw cacao powder and raw honey for a delicious dairy-free chocolate mousse, or mix half an avocado with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for a soothing anti-aging face mask.
4. Raw Chocolate
Throughout history, raw chocolate (otherwise known as cacao) has been known as food for the gods. The cacao bean is a revered rainforest food, containing an array of individual constituents and antioxidants that boost health. The bean dates back as far as 15,000 years––making raw chocolate ancient superfood medicine.
Raw chocolate is an incredible food for fueling your body with anti-aging antioxidants that decrease inflammation, offer cardio-protective effects, increase immune function, and prevent age-dependent damage.
How to Enjoy:
For best results, buy high quality organic fair-trade chocolate (75 percent or greater cacao content) or sugar-free raw cacao powder.
- Try brewing up a warm raw cacao beverage, with 2 cups of your favorite milk, 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder, and 2 teaspoons of raw honey.
- Feel free to nibble on a couple squares of organic dark chocolate for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.
- Or melt equal parts dark chocolate and coconut oil and chill in mini-muffin tins—or your favorite mold—for a silky and delicious superfood truffle.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV), made from apples broken down by fermentation, is an age-old elixir known for its many anti-aging properties. Apple cider vinegar is rich in probiotics and enzymes. ACV has been shown to support cardiovascular health, boost immunity and improve insulin response. ACV is rich in antioxidants and is an inexpensive and effective addition to your grocery cart.
How to Enjoy:
- Add a teaspoon to a glass of water.
- Use as a vinaigrette mixed with equal parts olive oil for your favorite salad.
- Pour a cupful into your evening bath for a skin-soothing medicinal soak.
6. Collard Greens
While green juices, green smoothies, and mixed leafy greens in salads are all the rage, you don’t hear much about collard greens––the forgotten dark and leafy cousin of kale. A part of the Brassica Oleracea family (along with vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, radish, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale) collard greens are a delicious and nutritious food that is high in antioxidants and contain vitamin C. Collard greens are also rich in potassium, iron, and calcium. Along with these vital nutrients, collards are also known for their powerful anti-aging properties, such as cancer-fighting metabolites known as indol-3-carbinol and di-indolyl, which are sulfur-containing phyto-nutrients shown to reduce excess estrogen in the body. These phytonutrients help to balance hormones and reduce the risk of breast cancer—alleviating many of the common health issues women face with aging.
How to Enjoy:
Collard greens are traditionally cooked at a low heat with a healthy fat, which aids in the release and bioavailability of their carotenoids (a health-inducing antioxidant). Sauté collard greens in your favorite stir-fry, add to your slow cooked soups and stews, or try them raw as the wrapping for a Mediterranean wrap filled with hummus and veggies rolled up like a burrito.
Pomegranate, sometimes referred to as the queen of all fruits, is known for being one of the best foods for anti-aging properties and antioxidant-rich nutrient profile. Pomegranate is rich in the flavonoid, known as anthocyanin (the antioxidant responsible for the dark red color in foods such as raspberries, black berries, red cabbage, and red onion). Studies show that anthocyanin has anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as benefits for blood pressure, cardiovascular health, liver function, and cancer prevention.
Studies show that pomegranates contain a specific molecule that, when transformed by the good microbes in your gut, enables your muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging––the degradation of the cells mitochondria. Therefore, pomegranates help prevent conditions such as muscular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease.
How to Enjoy:
Pomegranate is a tasty treat on its own, but you can also add the juicy seeds to a salad, on top of your morning oatmeal, or mix part sparkling water and part pomegranate juice for a refreshing antioxidant-rich beverage.
8. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is packed with a few powerhouse anti-aging ingredients you will want in your diet. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and collagen, wild salmon is a potent anti-aging food.
Omega-3-fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and hydrating for your skin leaving your skin looking radiant and supple while also helping to maintain elasticity. Vitamin D helps to protect your skin against sun damage and free radical damage. Collagen, known as one of the most abundant proteins in your body, is a powerhouse addition to your diet for anti-aging. As you age, the production of your natural collagen decreases––often seen through the many visible signs of the aging process such as wrinkles, a weakened digestion, and arthritis. Adding a collagen-rich food, such as wild salmon, is a sure way to stimulate more collagen production. When collagen is ingested, it is easily assimilated into the bloodstream and employed by the skin leading to more elasticity.
How to Enjoy:
Enjoy wild salmon grilled or baked over a bed of steamed greens or salad. Try wild salmon smoked for a quick and easy snack or meal. If you are a sushi lover, explore the array of delicious wild salmon sushi rolls on the menu of most sushi bars.
Known for their health-promoting benefits and astonishing nutrient profile, beets have been revered as a healing and anti-aging food in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Not only are beets full of health promoting antioxidants and trace minerals, they are also loaded with dietary nitrates––naturally occurring inorganic compounds––that convert to nitric oxide in the body. Research shows beetroot (the reddish roots known as beets) directly supports heart health, lowers blood pressure, enhances physical performance, and protects brain cells—keeping you feeling healthy and vital. If you like these earthly sweet roots, consider adding them to your anti-aging diet!
How to Use:
Try beets roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt. Order fresh beet juice at a local juice bar or shred them raw for your tossed green salad.
10. Raw Honey
You may think of raw honey as just a sweetener for your tea, but raw honey’s healing and anti-aging benefits go far and beyond. Studies show that raw honey is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer. Raw honey is chock full of anti-aging antioxidants called phenolic compounds, which play an important role in cancer prevention, managing diabetes, and preventing cardiovascular disease. Honey has also been shown to stimulate anti-inflammatory cytokine production––small proteins produced in your cells that govern inflammation and wound healing––making it a powerful anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging food to enjoy. Another study similarly shows how honey is a beneficial source for reducing wrinkles.
How to Enjoy:
Raw honey is a wonderful substitute for processed sugar and sweeteners. Use as a sweetener in natural desserts, sauces, smoothies, or beverages. Drizzle on top of yogurt or oatmeal for a naturally sweet taste, or use as a dip for a cheese and fruit plate.
Each of these anti-aging foods is beneficial in preventing many health issues associated with aging. From skin care to cancer prevention, from heart health to brain function, anti-aging foods support you in living longer, stronger, and healthier.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Learn how to use natural wellness practices like meditation, yoga, and Ayurvedic eating to help you slow, and even reverse, the aging process at Perfect Health, our intimate, personalized mind-body healing retreat. Learn More.